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Black Market BusinessSelling Sex in Northern Vietnam, 1920-1945$
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Christina Elizabeth Firpo

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501752650

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501752650.001.0001

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Unfree Labor

Unfree Labor

Debt Bondage and Human Trafficking

(p.90) Chapter 3 Unfree Labor
Black Market Business

Christina Elizabeth Firpo

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines two forms of unfree labor — debt-bondage and human trafficking — in which sex workers were not recompensed for their labor and, for a variety of reasons, remained stuck in their place of employment. Women involved in debt-bondage arrangements exchanged work for room, board, and a cash loan. Under debt-bondage agreements, the indebted paid off a monetary debt through labor for a definitive period of time. The chapter discusses how unscrupulous managers used debt-bondage to exploit sex workers. It also talks about trafficked women and how they were typically tricked or abducted and sold against their will to brothels in Tonkin or China, linking the sex industries of both countries. The chapter discusses how the prevalence of trafficking became a thorn in the side of the colonial government as France had already completely abolished slavery and slave trade in its terriroties since 1848. Finally, it discusses the colonial efforts to stop abuses of unfree labor.

Keywords:   unfree labor, debt-bondage, human trafficking, slavery, trafficked women, brothels, sex industry, Tonkin, China, sex workers

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